The 2018-2019 Cobell Scholarship application opportunities are available! Opportunities are in VOCATIONAL, UNDERGRADUATE, AND GRADUATE applications.



Indigenous Education, Inc. promotes The Cobell Scholarship’s goal to provide applicants and inquirers with the most beneficial information regarding this carefully established scholarship opportunity.

Our History

Learn more about the history behind the Cobell vs. Salazar litigations and the ultimate example of unwavering dedication, hard work and victory against all odds.

Elouise Cobell

In 1996, banker Elouise Cobell became the lead plaintiff in a class action suit, demanding back payment and better accounting on Individual Indian Money Accounts managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Thirteen years later, the federal government settled for $3.4 billion, the largest settlement in U.S. history.


The Cobell Scholarship is administered by Indigenous Education, Inc. whose growing staff of individuals are committed to the overall success of the program and each awarded recipient.

Melvin Monette-Barajas President and Executive Director

Bridget Neconie Director of Scholarships and Programs

John Garland Director of Research and Student Success

Maloni Fox Communications Coordinator

Mary Jane Cordova Office Manager

Julia Mosconi Engagement Coordinator

Shea Gonzalez Office Assistant


Indeed there is strength in numbers. Here is a look at some past and present strong recipients of the Cobell Scholarship. To suggest a student profile, email scholarships@cobellscholar.org.

Arlin Thomas of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians:

“My name is Arlin Thomas, but most people know me as Ajay. I am from Belcourt, North Dakota and the best thing people have going for them here is education, our beautiful land, our heritage, and the people. Apart from the military, I have lived on the reservation my whole life. I am very proud to be from our reservation known as Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

When I began high school, I was the typical teenage athlete student who cared more about sports than education. Come this fall, I will be two years away from graduating with my bachelor’s in secondary science. Along the way, I have learned to appreciate and gain much respect for higher education. Higher education is they key tool in achieving success. I am a firm believer in global warming and higher education and I believe that it is very important to be educated in the most current scientific practices and studies. It is also very important for younger generations to understand how to take care of mother earth while keeping current with new scientific studies and discoveries.”

Chestina Dominguez of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakima Nation:

“Chestina Dominguez is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, located in the Pacific Northwest. In her tight-knit tribal community, her educational aspirations include building family support for students and schools which lead to her educational focus in Early Childhood Education. She is currently attending Yakima Valley College and will be graduating this June with her AAS in Early Childhood Education. Chestina’s academic standings have earned her an induction into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She met the induction requirements by maintaining a high GPA standing and by being placed on the President’s List each quarter. Alongside her academics, her love of family, teaching, and community is shown by her community engagement through her volunteer work. Chestina’s current volunteer work includes University of Washington/NASA-sponsored middle school after-school science program, Community Representative on the Yakama Nation Head Start Policy Council, PTO board member at Toppenish Garfield Elementary, and she also organizes clothing drives for local homeless shelters throughout the year.

Chestina’s personal philosophy and the reason for achieving her higher education goals in life are to encourage and build resilience in others. Her personal understanding is investing in the future of her tribe needs to start by building a foundation of education, love, and resilience in her tribe’s youngest learners. She stated, “Our children are our future, and we must love them, and give them a strong educational foundation, so they can take us further.”

Chestina would sincerely like to thank the Cobell Scholarship for not only the opportunity for being a Cobell Scholarship Student Spotlight but also being awarded the Cobell Scholarship. The Cobell Scholarship has lightened the financial burden of higher education, which has allowed Chestina to focus on the most important aspect of school: learning. She would also like to thank her family, friends, Yakima Valley College faculty, and her nieces and nephews who are her everyday inspiration. “

Sequoia Dance of the Shoshone Bannock Tribe and Assiniboine-Red Bottom Band:

My name is Sequoia Dance and I am an enrolled member of the Shoshone-
Bannock Tribes (Fort Hall, ID) and a direct descendant of the Assiniboine –
Red Bottom Band (Fort Peck, Montana). My mother is Tamara Trahant (Fort Hall, ID) and my father is Mike Dance (Blackfoot, ID). My Maternal Grandmother is Sharon Empey and my Maternal Grandfather is Neil Trahant. My paternal Grandmother is Barbara Dance and my paternal Grandfather is Leon Dance. I am a former Miss Shoshone-Bannock (2015-2016) and I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development with a Certificate in Adolescence. I am currently enrolled at Arizona State University working on my Master’s in the Social and Cultural Pedagogy. I am the youngest of six siblings and the first to
graduate with a Bachelor’s degree. I have a strong interest in working with Native American Youth who are battling addiction as well as mental health barriers (depression and anxiety). I believe that healing comes in many
different forms for our people and furthering my education will better
equip me to understand and define different forms of healing.

For me, achieving higher education has many meanings. There is an obvious drive to build formal knowledge on subjects that can help me to make a difference in my community, but for this piece I want to focus on what is not so obvious. Achieving a higher education means more to me than a piece of paper that qualifies my work, it means that I have set a path for those who will come after me. I am hoping that through my education, I can help to shed light to professors on what it means to be a Shoshone-Bannock, Assiniboine and more broadly an Indigenous woman, in a large institution that only sees me as a number, as well inspire other Indigenous people to go to college and believe in themselves. I believe that I can make a difference through my journey in higher education and I cannot wait to see what possibilities await in the
completion of that journey.

Cornelia Vann of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma:

Osiyo!  My name is Cornelia Vann—I am 4/4 Cherokee and a proud, enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.  As a non-traditional, first-generation college student, I raised a family first before starting on my endeavor to achieve a higher education. I realize that having a college education is very important in order to help with the many social issues that we as a people face in daily life.

In May of 2017, I earned an Associate of Arts degree in Sociology from OCCC.  I am currently a student at The
University of Oklahoma majoring in Native American Studies with and minoring in Sociology. I want to use my college education to encourage others like me that, yes, it is possible to achieve the awesome goal of graduating from college. Some of the wonderful achievements and opportunities that I have had thus far as a college student include being named to the President’s Honor Roll, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Civic Honors, the Cherokee Nation Scholar Program, and the Cobell Scholar program.  In addition, I have served as the Public Relations Officer for the Leadership Council, as President of the Native American Student Association, and as a Transfer Distinguished  Academic Scholarship recipient at the University of Oklahoma. Through hard work and dedication, I am making my dreams come true. The life skills that I have learned along the way have greatly helped with my educational goals, and I will use my education to be an advocate  working with and for my people. I have pledged myself to do this—it is within my heart.

Cheyenne Siverly of the Tlingit Tribe and Haida Tribe:

Dléit káa x’éinàx Cheyenne Siverly yóo xat duwasàakw. My name is Cheyenne Siverly. I was born and raised in Juneau, Alaska and I am half Alaskan Native from the Tlingit and Haida tribe. I am currently in my fourth year of my undergraduate degree pursuing Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. I plan on attending graduate school to become a Doctor of Physical Therapy, and one of my biggest goals is to incorporate Native healing practices and traditions into modern rehabilitation.

Additionally, I am also interested in empowering Native youth to pursue the sciences and all parts of education so they can aspire to professional careers. I am a world traveler, and I have been to many developing countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. By visiting these places, I have been able to really understand the blessing of higher education, because in many places, people can only dream of it. To me, higher education provides countless of opportunities to make my future brighter, all of which I can bring back to my community. It is a high honor to be a Cobell Scholar, and I am beyond grateful for this opportunity that helps bring me to a higher level of academic achievement. Gunalchéesh, thank you!

Chippewa Cree Tribe:

My name is Ali Marie Denny, I was raised by my grandmother, Roberta Windchief; and I currently reside in Roosevelt, Utah. I am an enrolled tribal member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe in Rocky Boy, Montana. I have two sons, ages 10 and 2. I am currently in my second year at Utah State University attaining my bachelors of psychology with a minor in military science. I am also working on my premedical prerequisites to successfully enter school of medicine, post bachelors degree.

What achieving a higher education means to me is creating stability, resourcefulness, utilizing my abilities while gaining knowledge and the capability to provide. With the goal of helping others in mind, building a solid foundation of scientific and natural knowledge of medicine is achievable due to higher education. I am grateful and fortunate to be able to further my education.

Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe:
Mitchell Technical Institute, SD.

Hey there! My name is Jamasine Josephine Bourne, but everyone knows me as Jama! I am an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. To me you do not have to be blood related to be family, so some of my happiest moments have been hanging out with my extended family Indian Relay Racing! When I am not on the road watching our horse’s race, you can bet just like any other teenager I am on my phone, but for all the right reasons! Go to school for what you love, so you don’t have to work a day in your life, right? Information Systems Technology is my career path choice, and my goal is to change how future generations on my reservation sees technology, and all the remarkable things that we can benefit from it! I am currently studying at Mitchell Technical Institute in Mitchell, South Dakota working towards an associate’s degree in Applied Science.

Set goals high enough, so the people behind can watch you build a trail that will lead to success. There are three words that come to mind when I hear “High Education.” Those words are: Dedication, Sacrifice, and Opportunity. To lead yourself to a brighter future you must dedicate time into turning a dream into a reality, start sacrificing the non-important things for the important, and find out what true priorities are. Opportunity. Open the door and take the first step, because the only thing stopping you is YOU! Higher Education does not only effect the person that is gaining the knowledge, but it shows the younger
generation that anything is possible if you give it your all and don’t turn back.

Frequently Asked Questions

For all other questions that are not answered here, please email scholarships@cobellscholar.org.


Cobell Scholarship information is categorized into four (4) areas with a PDF for each area available for printing: Scholarship Program Myths and Facts, General Eligibility Criteria,  General Scholarship Application Information, and Information for Finalists.

The Cobell Online Application & Scholarship Information System (OASIS) also has an FAQ tab for applicant convenience.


The Office of the US Department of Education has a user-friendly informational website containing good information for students, families and community members.  Learn about preparing for college, the variety and types of available aid, qualifications for aid, applying for aid, and information about student loan management.  Click HERE to be redirected to their site. There’s also a useful glossary of terminology HERE.

The College Board has several good tools to help select a college, explore careers, pay for college, get into college(s), and guidance to make a plan.  Information about financial aid can be particularly useful; however, their entire site is recommended and can be accessed HERE.


Both Merit-based and Need-based, the competitive Cobell Scholarship is annual, non-renewable, and available to any post-secondary (after high school) student who is; an enrolled member of a US Federally-Recognized Tribe, enrolled in full-time study and is degree-seeking. Applicants must plan to attend or be attending any nationally, regionally and industry accredited non-profit, public and private, institution.
Applicants must be pursuing a vocational certificate or diploma, associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral or professional degree, or certificate.

All Finalists must demonstrate an unmet need through a process that will be coordinated with the IE staff. And, all Finalists will demonstrate tribal enrollment through a verification process that will be coordinated with the IE staff.

Application questions and other comments can be submitted at the bottom of this webpage.

Verification Processes

A series of verification will be required from applicants who are chosen as Finalist after the review process is completed. The verification includes, but is not limited to: Financial Need Analysis (FNA), Tribal Enrollment Verification (TEV), proof of institutional enrollment (course schedule, etc.), copy of most recent transcript, and a high-resolution/high quality photograph of the applicant.



Many online resources are available and the Indigenous Education, Inc. staff will work to continuously compile and maintain this list of links that can provide applicants with the most helpful information possible.

To suggest resources for this page, email information to scholarships@cobellscholar.org.

Indigenous Education, Inc. Webinar Series

The Indigenous Education, Inc. Webinar Series is a great tool to help improve your educational experience. Webinar topics range from grad school test prep, to FAFSA tips, to Cobell Scholarship Application Guidelines. New webinars will be shared roughly every month – stay up to date with coming IEI webinars by following the Cobell Scholarship Facebook Page.

COMING SOON: A Series on Healthy Habits 

Financial Aid Resources

Federal Student Aid – Find out how to complete the FAFSA and maintain your federal student aid profile.  Great resources for families as well as individual students.

The American Indian College Fund – The American Indian College Fund provides scholarships to students attending Tribal College and University students, and undergraduate and graduate students attending any other accredited public and non-profit private college all across the United States.

The American Indian Graduate Center – The AIGC provides scholarships to American Indians and Alaska Natives pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees at accredited institutions as full-time, degree-seeking students.

The American Indian Science and Engineering Society – AISES provides scholarships to students and provides so much more in student leadership, mentorship, involvement and service.

Scholarship Opportunities for American Indian and Alaska Native students is a resources page maintained by the federal Bureau of Indian Education.

Testing for College and Graduate School

The PSAT and SAT are administered by the College Board

The ACT suite of products and services can be found here

GRE – the Graduate Record Exam

GMAT – the Graduate Management Admission Test is administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council

LSAT – the Law School Admissions Test is administered by the Law School Admissions Council

MCAT – the Medical College Admission Test is administered by the Association of Medical Colleges.

PCAT – the Pharmacy College Admission Test is a specialized test that helps identify qualified applicants to pharmacy colleges.

DCAT – the Dental College Admission Test is administered by the American Dental Association.

Other Resource Links

COLLEGE HORIZONS – is a pre-college program for Native American high school students open to current sophomores and juniors.  Each summer students work with college counselors and college admissions officers in a five-day “crash course.”  The individualized program helps students select colleges suitable for them to apply to, get admitted to, and receive adequate financial aid. Students research their top 10 schools; complete college essays, resumes, the Common Application, and the preliminary FAFSA; receive interviewing skills and test-taking strategies (on the ACT and SAT) and financial aid/scholarship information.

GRADUATE HORIZONS – a four-day workshop for Native college students, college graduates, and master’s students in preparing for graduate school (master’s, Ph.D. or professional school).

BIG FUTURE is a program of the College Board designed to help students track their own path to college and career.

Study Public Health, Change the World – find out if Public Health is for you

The public health profession cuts across many different disciplines. Use the SOPHAS Academic Program Finder to search degree programs from over 80 schools and programs.

Pathways to Science is a project of the Institute for Broadening Participation (IBP) . Pathways to Science supports pathways to the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. We place particular emphasis on connecting underrepresented groups with STEM programs, funding, mentoring and resources.

Contact us at your convenience

The Cobell Scholarship Team is available to address any questions or concerns regarding the scholarship process or other related inquiries. Simply complete and submit the form below.

Indigenous Education, Inc.
The Cobell Scholarship
6501 Americas Parkway NE Suite 825
Albuquerque NM 87110

Direct: (505) 313-0032

Toll Free: (844) 551-0650


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